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Russell sees his style fitting Stars well

Defenseman thinks skating ability will translate well to Dallas attack

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Dallas Stars defenseman Kris Russell is looking forward to getting acclimated to his new team and pushing for a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Russell was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Stars on Monday for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward prospect Brett Pollock and a conditional second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. 

The time since the trade has been a little hectic for Russell, having to deal with immigration issues and not knowing if he's going to be able to play Tuesday against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-TN, NHL.TV) because of his work visa being processed.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind," Russell said. "I've never been in a situation to be a guy that was most likely going to get moved on the deadline, but I'm excited to be here now. It seems like a great group of guys in here, so I'm excited to get playing."

Russell believes the style he played in Calgary will allow him to adjust quickly to the way Dallas plays. He has already had discussions with coach Lindy Ruff on the kind of game he is expected to play. 

"I went over some film with the coaches," Russell said. "I felt like we played pretty similar, the way we activated our defense in Calgary. It's a fast team, and I feel like skating is one of my biggest attributes, so hopefully I can contribute to that." 

Video: Russell is ready to contribute any way he can

Over the past couple seasons, Russell's possession numbers haven't been strong. Ruff said he isn't concerned with those numbers and believes they will improve because of the style of game the Stars play. 

"If I looked at Calgary's possession numbers from last year, they're right at the bottom," Ruff said. "I think that's a team thing. You throw him inside of our [team] and you see what the numbers look like. There's a certain way I'm going to want him to play. I think he's capable of playing that way. I think those numbers should be better. I think sometimes when the table is tipped and the possession numbers as a team are that bad, there's not many players that can push above and have an individual good possession number." 

With the stretch run of the regular season and push to the playoffs in full swing, Russell's focus in the short term will be to acclimate to his new teammates in Dallas and become comfortable in his new surroundings. 

"I've been on a few teams," Russell said. "NHL players are easy, a great group of guys. Meeting the guys here today, they seem like an awesome group, so it should be pretty easy." 

Russell doesn't know what his future holds beyond the rest of this season. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but said his job now is to not focus on that and help the Stars try to compete for the Stanley Cup. 

"I'm playing for the Dallas Stars, so that's my main focus is to help them win," Russell said. "I'm not looking past that. Each day, I'm going to take it and try and keep getting better and work hard."

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